polo fragrances Get a first look at Suburban Station’s new homeless services center
Between 800 and 900 people are estimated to live on the streets and spend their nights exposed to the elements. An additional 5,700 are in shelters or temporary housing, and an uncounted number put down beds in abandoned cars or buildings, or couch surf with friends or relatives.
Starting Wednesday, they will be offered a safe place in an unlikely space: deep in the tunnels of Suburban Station, where Project HOME, SEPTA, and city government have cooperated to build a daytime service center designed to help the city homeless. Hub of Hope, as the 11,000 square foot facility is named, brings meals, medical care, social services, and basic amenities such as bathrooms, showers, and laundry machines to Center City, where a large portion of the city homeless spend the day, but such services are scarce.
Beyond the waiting area are shower facilities, with three stalls, and three washers and dryers, as well as a living room furnished with couches and tables and a food service area. There also an office where social workers can meet with clients. Farther along the space central corridor is a room offering clothes and a small medical clinic.
The location itself represents an extreme repurposing of existing urban space. The walls still bear the original white and green tiles that once directed riders toward stairways to the city streets above. Trains on the Broad Street Line rumble softly in the background.
The area, which is roughly beneath the Municipal Services Building, had been used as a police substation but was abandoned about 15 years ago. Last summer, SEPTA began the $1.4 million renovation. SEPTA and the city evenly split the construction costs. Project HOME committed an additional $1 million, about $800,000 of which came from fund raising efforts, to furnish the facility.
The space addresses a need long unanswered in Philadelphia, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke has said. SEPTA was contending with a growing population of homeless people occupying benches in transit centers such as Suburban Station and was looking for a humane way to address the problem. A number of other locations didn pan out before SEPTA suggested its space. Project HOME has used space in Suburban Station before, but that was a much smaller facility open only during the winter months.
SEPTA officials believe Hub of Hope, extensive homeless services are being provided in cooperation with a transportation agency, is the only site of its kind in the country. on weekends. Philabundance will provide meal service on Fridays and weekends, when other organizations that feed the homeless tend to close. rooms will open for use starting in March, where Project HOME physicians and other health care workers will provide medical, dental, and behavioral health care. The examination rooms, not quite complete, include small showers where visitors can clean their feet.
Sister Mary Scullion, who leads Project HOME, has pointed to opioid addiction as one of the major drivers of homelessness in Philadelphia, and the clinic will include people qualified to give medical assistance to people in crisis because of addiction, as well as access to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous recovery programs. Project HOME also has an intensive residential program for long term addicts called Journey of Hope that will be made available.